National Summary

  • The rain event across much of eastern and southern Australia in the first week of November brought both relief and complications to producers. As a result, some hay growers have significant quantities of weather damaged hay to contend with.
  • There have been no significant changes to hay prices in the past fortnight, although demand in the Gippsland region is above average for this time of year and prices have shifted accordingly.
  • Yields continue to be lower in the south, particularly in Tasmania, and potential buyers are strongly advised to calculate their feed budget and fodder requirements for the summer.

Northern Australia

  • Ten days of recent wet weather across the Darling Downs has provided some relief to many producers who experienced an extremely dry October.
  • The hay market is now relatively quiet, with restrained optimism putting a hold on trading. Many growers have shifted their focus to getting in summer crops such as sorghum.
  • Harvest in far north Queensland is complete with no anticipated price changes until irrigated hay is placed on the market from December.

Southern Australia

  • There were a number of rainfall events noted across Southern Australia in early November and depending on where you are they have been met with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
  • There have been reports of rains in North Eastern Victoria resulted in some weather damaged hay now being available. This may result in hay being available at discounted prices.
  • The rain event also brought some relief to Gippsland’s dairy farmers, however the demand for purchased fodder is still remains quite strong. Rains were also welcomed in the Bega region, with further growth now guaranteed for what has already been a good silage harvest.
  • The hay market in Western Victoria and South Australia is relatively subdued. Some downward pressure has been placed on domestic cereal hay prices with wheaten hay entering the market in the south-east of South Australia.
  • The rains in Tasmania – although patchy – eased some of the more extreme concerns that were being voiced in the media. Although yields and availability of fodder is much lower than average, hay prices still remain fair for potential buyers.

Western Australia

  • The demand for export hay continues to underpin the domestic oaten hay price. A significant volume of feed grain on the market provide dairy farmers with alternate feed options and is likely to keep a lid on the domestic hay price.

Regional Commentary

Atherton Tablelands

  • Relatively quiet trading conditions at present with supply meeting demand.
  • Beef farmers continue to be some of the largest buyers of new season hay with limited pasture available.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($320 to $420/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Darling Downs

  • Demand for hay has eased somewhat following ten days of rainfall. This has given primary producers hope following what has been an ongoing situation of very dry conditions for many.
  • Baling has continued to be interrupted by rain, but yields have been reasonable.
  • Growers are shifting their focus to sowing summer crops such as sorghum.
  • Demand is expected to remain fairly steady driven by beef farmers acting on the positive beef prices.
  • Cereal hay: -$5 ($300 to $340/t). The market for cereal hay has weakened slightly this week following the rain.
  • Lucerne hay: -$5 ($430 to $480/t). Lucerne has been selling slightly lower during the past week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($140 to $180/t). No change in prices reported.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($270 to $310/t). No movement this week.

North Coast NSW

  • Regular storms on the North Coast have continued to make for challenging hay making weather. Careful inspection of hay prior to purchase is recommended, due to the potential for some weather damaged hay in the market.
  • The hay market remains generally quiet and oaten hay has experienced some downward pressure pricewise. This is attributed to the good pasture availability limiting the need to buy in fodder.
  • Demand from local feedlots and larger beef businesses in central NSW and QLD has remained steady and has been providing regular orders for sellers.
  • Lucerne hay production continues with growers reporting that both quality and quantity are slightly above average. Some growers are currently cutting Rhodes grass.
  • Cereal hay: -$0 ($250 to $290/t). Prices held firm this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($300 to $350/t). No price change recorded this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 (130 to 150/t). Prices were steady this week.

Central West NSW

  • Intense mid-November heat is providing challenging growing conditions for farmers.
  • Following the rain during baling, some weather damaged cereal hay and lucerne is available in the market. Potential buyers should use a trusted hay supplier to help guarantee quality.
  • Fair to good yields have been reported across the region.
  • Overall the market is steady with regular hay buyers keeping the domestic market slowly ticking over.
  • Export hay businesses continue to provide competition for new season oaten hay.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($220 to $290/t). Prices remained steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($340 to $400/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($130 to 150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 N/A. There are no reports of pasture trading.

Bega Valley

  • Additional rainfall during the past two weeks has continued the good run for growth and the yields resulting from the silage harvest have been high.
  • With good feed stocks on hand, dairy farmers have a positive outlook and it appears the demand for hay being transported into the district will be minimal for the season ahead.
  • The sole exception is the demand for protein hay during key production periods. The impact of rain in growing regions may see an increased premium being placed on high quality lucerne (non-rain damaged hay).
  • The hay harvest has not yet commenced in earnest, as the moisture levels are still too high.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($270 to $300/t). Prices remain steady this week with minimal trading.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($330 to $380/t). No change this week however as this is due to limited demand prices are expected to rise as stocks are tight.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($180 to $190/t). Prices remain steady
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $260/t). Prices remain steady this week.

Goulburn/Murray Valley

  • With the weather conditions fluctuating during the past two weeks, the hay price has also been subject to change with multiple hay grades emerging following the heavy rain event in early November.
  • Both buyers and growers are reminded that hay with high moisture can be a risk for self-combustion leading to hay shed fires. Requesting a feed analysis, with a dry matter measurement, on any hay being brought in can be a way to assess risks.
  • There now appear to be opportunities to purchase weather damaged hay at discounted prices ranging from $30 to $60 a tonne depending on the extent of the damage.
  • Chaff mills are active in the market and are paying premium prices for high quality oaten hay.
  • Vetch hay production is back this year due to the tight season, accordingly prices are holding firm with growers not willing to part with vetch cheaply.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($190 to $240/t). Prices steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +$10 ($300 to $340/t). The price has lifted on basis of reports of lucerne trading at the higher end of the range.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($80 to $110/t). Straw pricing remains steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($150 to $170/t). No changes reported in the market this week.


  • Many dairy farmers are already supplementary feeding due to the relatively poor availability of paddock feed.
  • Demand for hay is above average for this time of year, due to the challenging dry spring conditions. Prices have been displaying an upwards trend, especially as costs increase once hay growers begin transporting shedded product (as opposed to off the back of the baler purchases).
  • There is talk that demand may ease with some dairy farmers now looking at reducing herd numbers and focusing on home grown feed rather than purchasing fodder.
  • Cereal hay: +$10 ($230 to $290/t). A slight lift in prices this week, partly due to the “off the baler” purchases ending.
  • Lucerne hay: +$5 ($320 to $400/t). Prices for protein hay have lifted again this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $150/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +$5 ($160 to $230/t). Trade in pasture hay is strong at both ends of the price range.

Southwest Victoria

  • The hay market has been subdued in the past fortnight, partly due to recent rainfalls improving soil moisture levels and delivering hope to producers for improved pasture growth.
  • Overall the harvest to date has seen relatively lower yields, however maintaining a high quality. There is an expectation that the yields of later crops will be better however there is not expected to be a surplus of cereal hay in the region.
  • Currently growers are opting to put hay into storage rather than meet the bottom end of the market, and it is anticipated that the market will become more active in the weeks following Christmas.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $220/t). Prices are steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $340/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $120/t). Prices unchanged – new season straw is not yet on the market.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $220/t). No price changes this week.

Southeast South Australia

  • There have been some reports of weather damaged hay following the rain over the past fortnight. Accordingly buyers should be conscious of hay quality.
  • The lucerne harvest is underway in the region with prices indicating the market is stable. Current prices tend to be reflecting the cost of lucerne production.
  • We continue to hear reports of good volumes of legume hay being available in the region, both vetch and clover. This is expected to provide opportunities for buyers to pick up protein hay at good prices.
  • As yet, few reports have been received of pasture hay being traded.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($210 to $250/t). Average price unchanged, although the price range is more restricted.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $340/t). Prices steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($110 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to $240/t). Prices steady this week.

Central South Australia

  • Domestic demand for hay continues to be slow, with trading at the high end of the cereal hay market dominated by sales into the export sector.
  • Many growers have reached the end of their harvest and are happy with the quality of the hay in the sheds. The early seasonal finish and high sugar content of some hay grades caused technical difficulties for some contractors keeping their equipment clean, but on the flipside it gives buyers an opportunity to source high quality hay.
  • Exporters have been active buyers again this year and some growers have reportedly opted to contract all their hay into the export market.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($200 to $260/t). Prices were steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($280 to $320/t). Prices steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($120 to $130/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: N/A. No reported trading.

Southwest Western Australia

  • Reports continue of high quality cereal hay being produced in the West this season and exporters continue to be the most active buyers in the market.
  • Substantial volumes of feed grain are likely to inhibit the price of hay increasing in the domestic market as dairy farmers explore alternate feed sources to hay.
  • Yields of pasture hay in WA; especially in regions south of Perth are expected to be below average this year. This is likely to see a price increase for pasture hay and/or buyers showing a preference for cereal hay.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($180 to $240/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($470 to $520/t). Prices were steady this week.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($90 to $110/t). Prices remain steady this week; however this is based on limited trading.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($160 to 200/t). Prices remain steady however this is based on limited trading.

Northwest Tasmania

  • The rainfall event in early November provided many producers with some hope, following an abnormally dry winter/spring.
  • There has been a lot of talk in Tasmania over the past fortnight on concerns over fodder supply for the coming season. Hay is proving difficult to source however buyers are resistant to higher prices so far.
  • The dry conditions have led to some cereal crops being cut for hay, which is an unusual outcome for Tasmania. This will add some additional fodder into what is a very lean supply scenario.
  • Yields for both silage and hay are reportedly low, and an increased demand for purchased fodder is still anticipated over the coming months.
  • Hay growers with access to irrigation will be essential to keeping the fodder market supplied for summer.
  • Dairy farmers are advised to determine their feed budgets for the coming season and contact fodder suppliers early to secure stocks at an agreed price.
  • Cereal hay: +/-$0 ($240 to $280/t). Prices steady this week.
  • Lucerne hay: +/-$0 ($325 to $350/t). Prices held firm this week but are expected to increase in coming weeks.
  • Straw: +/-$0 ($170 to $200/t). Prices remain steady this week.
  • Pasture hay: +/-$0 ($200 to $260/t). Prices remained steady this week as the new seasons hay harvest begins.